The Supervising Minister of Niger Delta, Darius Ishaku, said the ministry would collaborate with the elders in the region to find ways to stop oil theft.
Ishaku said this when he received, Eze Raphael Ikegwuruka, National Executive Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON) in Abuja on Thursday.
TROMPCON is the umbrella body of traditional rulers from the nine oil producing states of the federation.
He said the menace of oil theft in the region would be reduced if the elders encouraged the youth to register at the various vocational skills centres.
The minister said no fewer than 100 Niger Delta youths had been trained on how to assemble phones, I-Pads and other Information Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets.
Ishaku said that the first batch of trainees comprised youths from the nine Niger Delta States of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
He said the skills acquisition centre in Otuoke, when inaugurated had the capacity to train 400 youths in the second phase of the ICT skill acquisition programme in Bayelsa.
The minister said that the ministry was working tirelessly to complete the East-West Road which would be completed in the first quarter of 2015.
“President Goodluck Jonathan is passionate about the completion of the East-West Road. We got funds with the help of the president through SURE-P, African Development Bank in addition to our budget so that by first quarter of next year, we should deliver the project,’’ he said.
Earlier, Ikegwuruka said in curbing oil theft, government needs to empower youths through job creation.
Ikegwuruka commended the efforts of the Goodluck-led administration toward empowering the youth.
He stressed the need for the states in the region to harmonise their institutional approach toward curbing oil theft and work together to actualised the ministry’s development strategies.
Ikegwuruka said that TROMPCON is planning to organise an international conference on curbing oil theft and enhancing youth empowerment through job creation.
To this end, he urged the ministry to collaborate with TROMPCON toward a successful hosting of the conference.